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Mozart or Most Art: What’s Really Good for Kids?

My wife and I are gearing up to take our six year old to see Styx in October and a few of our friends have expressed concern at the idea of taking a young child to a rock concert. Despite my comebacks of “We’ll make him wear earplugs,” and “Come on, it’s only Styx!” — I keep getting flack. 

This article is for all the naysayers out there. Believe it or not, I am not going to warp my kid’s fragile little mind by exposing him to live music. In fact, I’m going to be expanding his horizons. Why? Because live music is good for kids.
Everywhere we look, we are bombarded with distractions. At concerts, kids are compelled to focus on music for an extended period of time. When children are actively listening to music – and I’m talking really engaged – they’re listening to the lyrics, singing, dancing, and letting their imaginations be steered by what they’re hearing. When it boils down to it, live music teaches children how to listen.
Furthermore, some children don’t actually grasp what they’re hearing when they hear a recording. In an article for the National Association for the Education of Young Children, musician Cathy Fink writes,
“Many young children—toddlers, for example—may not understand that the music they hear from a radio, CD player, or MP3 player was originally created by a live person—that music doesn’t just come out of a box, that there’s not a small person in there. Live music is a living, breathing, and wonderful thing. When children experience a live performance, they will begin to understand that it takes a person and an instrument or a voice to create music.”
Experiencing an artist live in concert can launch a child headfirst into the world of recorded music. My wife’s lifelong love of The Turtles stemmed from seeing them in concert when she was five. She was so engrossed in the music that she began dancing along – catching the eye of lead singer Howard Kaylan. Delighted by the enthusiastic little girl, Kaylan actually sat on the edge of the stage and sang the Turtle’s biggest hit, Happy Together, directly to her. Her parents bought her a cassette of their greatest hits a few days later, and the rest was history.
So, if you’re like me and aren’t afraid to immerse your kid in the wonderful world of music, wrap them in a mini band tee and roll on out to the next concert. Make sure you choose your seats wisely (avoid the mosh pit), protect their little ears, and be ready to go when they can’t sit still any longer. In the end, not only will you have a great time, you’ll be instilling your child with a lasting passion for music. There’s just nothing better than that.
Jack Stokes is an enthusiastic father, decent writer, and Thai food aficionado. More importantly, he plays the guitar. He currently writes for Zu Audio, manufacturers of high quality, American made hi-fi speakers.  


Mozart or Most Art: What’s Really Good for Kids?

Reader Comments (2)

Totally agree, Jack. I've had nothing but positive experiences taking my kid to outdoor festivals, and he's only 10 months old. He's got a big pair of noise-canceling headphones, and we stand all the way in the back. He smiles the whole time. Sure, he won't remember it, but I like to think I'm helping wire up his appreciation for performance. This reminds me that I need to also pull out the acoustic and play guitar for him at home.

September 25 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Fredrickson

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